In This Review

Sun Pin Military Methods
Sun Pin Military Methods
By Sun Pin
Westview Press, 1995, 392 pp
Purchase

Sun Pin is said by some to have been the great-grandson of Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War. With this translation of the former's writings, Ralph D. Sawyer, who has translated and edited not only Sun Tzu's book but a number of other Chinese military classics, has produced another intriguing volume. The surviving manuscript is fragmentary, so Sawyer's able summary, commentary, and 100 pages of notes must bear most of the burden. Still, there is merit in plowing through this dense work, which offers another window into Chinese military thought. The fundamental concepts of ordinary and special forces, of chi (variously translated as energy or martial virtue), shih (strategic positioning or advantage), and tao (the way) appear here as they do in Sun Tzu's work. As China finds its place as a great power, the relevance of even these ancient texts will surely increase.